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Drug Testing News

Getting Around Drug Tests is New Industry


By Stuart Shepard, correspondent
February 19, 2003

A lot of companies give their employees drug tests, but the growing practice has also started something of a cottage industry that help workers hide their drug use.

It's an escalating war between the testers and the cheaters. As workplace drug testing becomes more and more common, the emergence of products to pass such tests also increases fueled in part by Internet sales.

Audrey Anderson contends it's a violation of your constitutional rights to be tested for drugs. So, she sells products everything from detox tea, to shampoo, to prepackaged urine samples that purport to help drug users pass those tests.

"(The urine samples are) synthetically created in a laboratory, quite frankly," Anderson said.

She calls drug testing a multi-billion dollar industry based on junk science.

"Drug testing does not in any way test for impairment," she said.

Anderson said the real question is whether a person can safely do the job.

"If employers really wanted to know if a person was suitable to work, they would do a nine-dollar hand-eye coordination test that is really indicative of whether a person is suitable to work, or if a person is impaired," she said.

Dr. Brent Hale, of Blomquist-Hale Consulting, assists companies that do drug testing.

"Whether or not a person believes they are under the influence of the substance, there is a likelihood that their judgement could be impaired particularly, situations that require immediate reaction," Hale said.

He admitted there's a raging technology race between those who test and those who cheat.

"What seems to be happening is that they'll get away with it for just a little while, because some of (the cheating technologies) actually do work. But the testing laboratories are playing the same cat-and-mouse game."

Hale added current tests not only detect drug use, but they can also ID products used to throw off a test.

He also cited research showing the accident rate for substance abusers is as much as 500 percent higher than other workers. His organization conducted a study in Utah that estimated the cost of substance abuse amounted to about $3,000 for every family in the state, every year.